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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cars R Us

The Times reports that the Cabinet has approved headline grabbing proposals to help bailout the car industry.

These proposals will probably involve guarantees for loans to the industry, to assist with short-term finance. There may also be help to enable the financing arms of car companies to access the Bank of England's liquidity scheme.

All well and good, maybe, as a short term effort to lessen the jobs cuts in the car industry and to give the government some nice "we are busy" headlines.

However, could this effort not be better directed?

Should not the car workers, who are likely to lose their jobs, be retrained to work in another industry (if there is one left in the UK)?

Are cars really necessary in the numbers that are currently being produced and, until recently, purchased? Their emissions blight the air, and motorways and traffic jams blight the landscape and city centres.

Is this not an opportunity to redirect/restructure a very significant part of British industry into producing something that actually adds value to people's lives?

How many jobs will really be saved by this knee jerk reaction in the long term?

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